|The president of the Syrian Arab Republic, Bashar Al-Assad (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
The U.S. decision came as Assad’s surging forces and their Lebanese Hezbollah allies turned their guns on the north, fighting near the northern city of Aleppo and bombarding the central city of Homs after having seized the initiative by winning the open backing of Hezbollah last month and capturing the strategic town of Qusair last week.Syria: Cameron backs US assessment on chemical weapons use | Politics | guardian.co.uk
The White House said Washington would provide “direct military support” to the opposition but did not specify whether it would include lethal aid, which would mark a reversal of Obama’s resistance to arming the rebels. But the U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the package would include weapons.
Britain shares the "candid assessment" by the US that the regime of President Bashir al-Assad has used chemical weapons against rebels in the Syrian conflict, David Cameron has said.US to give military support to Syrian rebels as ‘red line' crossed — RT News
After concluding that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons against the country's insurgency, thus crossing a ‘red line,’ the Obama administration has decided to start sending arms to anti-Assad rebels for the first time, officials say.US says it will arm Syrian rebels following chemical weapons tests | World news | The Guardian
An internal memorandum circulating within the Obama administration has assessed that chemical weapons, most likely the nerve gas sarin, were used multiple times in battle against the Syrian rebels.
The assessment that limited attacks have taken place, based on CIA tests on blood, urine and hair samples from dead or wounded rebel fighters, is the first time Washington has supported claims made by British and French intelligence services in recent weeks. Assad has repeatedly denied using any chemical weapons in the bitter civil war.U.S. Is Said to Plan to Send Weapons to Syrian Rebels - NYTimes.com
Supplying weapons to the rebels has been a long-sought goal of advocates of a more aggressive American response to the Syrian civil war. A proposal made last year by David H. Petraeus, then the director of the C.I.A., and backed by the State Department and the Pentagon to supply weapons was rejected by the White House because of President Obama’s deep reluctance to be drawn into another war in the Middle East.
- BBC News - US says it will give military aid to Syria rebels
- US: Syrian Regime Has Used Chemical Weapons
- US Drums of War Beat Louder in Syria | Common Dreams
- Syria condemns chemical weapon 'lie' (bbc.co.uk)
- U.S. to increase military support to Syria rebels | Reuters
"The president ... has made it clear that the use of chemical weapons or transfer of chemical weapons to terrorist groups is a red line," said Ben Rhodes, Obama's deputy national security adviser. "He has said that the use of chemical weapons would change his calculus, and it has."
'CHEMICAL WEAPONS ... ON A SMALL SCALE'
"Our intelligence community assesses that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin, on a small scale against the opposition multiple times in the last year," Rhodes told reporters.
He said the U.S. intelligence community had high confidence in the assessment and estimated that 100 to 150 people had died from detected chemical weapons attacks in Syria to date.
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Moscow unconvinced by US evidence of Syrian chemical weapons use — RT News